Skip Navigation LinksHome > March 2010 - Volume 42 - Issue 3 > V˙O2max in Overweight and Obese Adults: Do They Meet the Thr...
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181b666ad
Basic Sciences

V˙O2max in Overweight and Obese Adults: Do They Meet the Threshold Criteria?

WOOD, RACHEL E.1; HILLS, ANDREW P.1; HUNTER, GARY R.2; KING, NEIL A.1; BYRNE, NUALA M.1

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether adiposity affects the attainment of V˙O2max.

Methods: Sixty-seven male and 68 female overweight (body mass index (BMI) = 25-29.9 kg·m−2) and obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg·m−2) participants undertook a graded treadmill test to volitional exhaustion (phase 1) followed by a verification test (phase 2) to determine the proportion who could achieve a plateau in V˙O2 and other "maximal" markers (RER, lactate, HR, RPE).

Results: At the end of phase 1, 46% of the participants reached a plateau in V˙O2, 83% increased HR to within 11 beats of age-predicted maximum, 89% reached an RER of ≥1.15, 70% reached a blood lactate concentration of ≥8 mmol·L−1, and 74% reached an RPE of ≥18. No significant differences between genders and between BMI groups were found with the exception of blood lactate concentration (males = 84% vs females = 56%, P < 0.05). Neither gender nor fatness predicted the number of other markers attained, and attainment of other markers did not differentiate whether a V˙O2 plateau was achieved. The verification test (phase 2) revealed that an additional 52 individuals (39%) who did not exhibit a plateau in V˙O2 in phase 1 had no further increase in V˙O2 in phase 2 despite an increase in workload.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that the absence of a plateau in V˙O2 alone is not indicative of a failure to reach a true maximal V˙O2 and that individuals with excessive body fat are no less likely than "normal-weight" individuals to exhibit a plateau in V˙O2 provided that the protocol is appropriate and encouragement to exercise to maximal exertion is provided.

©2010The American College of Sports Medicine

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